Setting Boundaries Makes Narcissists Take Responsibility for Their Behavior

Setting Boundaries Makes Narcissists Take Responsibility for Their Behavior

One of the most commonly shared qualities among victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse is the inability to comfortably set boundaries with other people. This is a primary reason that a narcissist may have targeted you in the first place. Plus, since a large number of narcissistic abuse survivors report they also had a traumatic childhood, they were nearly raised to accept people who actively overstep their boundaries. And, to further complicate the situation, most survivors weren’t even taught they were allowed to set boundaries in the first place.

How do you set boundaries with narcissists? 

To establish healthy boundaries, you need to be clear with your partner who you are, what you want, your beliefs and values, and specifically what your limits are. Narcissists do not allow this. They are known for pushing and stepping on boundaries in order to manipulate and control you more easily. Whether you’re trying to set boundaries with narcissists or with other “healthier” people, you might find yourself struggling. Here is some help with how to set boundaries with narcissists and other difficult people. And here’s a little more advice on how to set boundaries with narcissists.

How do narcissists react when you set boundaries?

Something you’ll notice when you’re setting boundaries for yourself with a narcissist is that it can easily make them uncomfortable. In a lot of ways, due to your typical conflict-avoidant behavior when you’ve been involved with a narcissist, people in your life have become used to no real resistance when it comes to offhanded comments or using others for their advantage. Sadly, even the “non-narcissists” in your life can end up taking advantage of you unintentionally.

But when it comes to narcissists, there’s a whole other side of the coin. When you set boundaries and enforce them, it makes the narcissist take responsibility for their abusive behavior, something that most narcissists absolutely refuse to do. And since your desire to hold firm in your boundaries is very likely new and scary for them, it’ll be very off-putting for them, to put it mildly. This is one of the reasons that boundaries can come off as aggressive at first, even with the non-narcissists around you.

But while you’re only being vaguely defensive, narcissists will take your desire and ability to set boundaries as a personal threat that you’re making them have some actual responsibility for thinking about what they say and do before they do it.

As uncomfortable as it may be for them, though, the non-narcissists in their lives will most definitely get over it and start to learn how to act and treat people with respect. Taking responsibility for your behavior means that you can no longer just do things mindlessly. Narcissists, of course, will never move past it and will either abandon the relationship or do whatever is necessary to mentally push their partners into conforming to their own controlling ways.

Why is it so important to set boundaries in narcissistic abuse recovery?

When you go through narcissistic abuse, you’ll find that your boundaries are actively and aggressively pushed back. Narcissists are notoriously disrespectful of boundaries. While a narcissist seems charming in the beginning, you’ll quickly learn that while you’re expected to fully respect their own boundaries, they will never respect your own.

After all, to respect a boundary would mean that you’d acually have to take people’s feelings and desires into account. This is a pretty realistic expectation for someone to have, and it’s in no way difficult if you just decide to be kind and treat others with respect. But narcissists are known for their lack of empathy and lack of remorse, not to mention that they have famously double standards.

Is it too much to ask someone to respect your boundaries?

To put it briefly: no. Literally anyone and everyone has the basic human right to set their own boundaries, and pretty much everyone has the right to expect their boundaries to be respected.

What happens if I cross someone else’s boundaries? 

It’s very seldom that others have boundaries that you would accidentally cross just by being nice, but if you do, apologize and keep that in mind. These boundaries aren’t just for others to be responsible, though.

Some boundaries also force you to take responsibility and act in a certain way that either benefits you and helps you towards success or helps others. For example, if you set boundaries on yourself for finances, you’re holding yourself accountable for being responsible when it comes to the money you’re spending and how you’re spending it.

It can be uncomfortable for you to hold yourself responsible, but it needs to be done. In the short term, others will be uncomfortable with having to be responsible like this. However, it’s better in the long run for everyone.

By being more conscious and willing to think about what you’re actually doing, everyone will be able to communicate and interact with you in a more satisfying manner. Those who refuse to adapt will be looked down upon, but everyone else will be a lot happier with one another, since this kind of behavior transfers from person to person.

Never Apologize for Having Boundaries in Your Life

The reason most people set boundaries is in order to have a happier and more successful life. But you may end up second-guessing your decision afterward, thinking you were being too harsh and overreacted.

You might find yourself in such a situation, feeling the need to apologize for some reason after setting a boundary, as if it’s your fault that you feel as if you’re not being respected.

That isn’t really the truth. Your feelings are simply a reaction to the situation you’re in, and you have every right to feel the way you do. You should feel good about having boundaries because it’s a very healthy thing to do for yourself.

It’ll be uncomfortable for you at first if you’re used to being passive in your engagements with others, but it’s a change that needs to happen. You’ll have to force yourself to stay firm with these boundaries and be unapologetic in doing so.

It’s important not to seem apologetic about having these boundaries, because otherwise people will keep prodding at you until you break under pressure, and your boundaries collapse.

Never apologizing means that you won’t fold on your boundaries and you won’t even be remotely upset about adhering to them. It goes a lot deeper than just presenting others with a strong demeanor.

You need to genuinely believe that there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the boundaries that you had set in order to improve your life. One thing to avoid when being unapologetic is being aggressive or abrasive.

It’s easy to get carried away in trying to be strong with your boundaries that you actually end up being overly confrontational, and in doing so, you’ll push people away a lot more than you might like – particularly your friends and other loved ones.

If you’re super aggressive about not being apologetic, it can actually undermine your efforts and leave you with less support and more people that don’t like you. Not apologizing is very important so that others won’t look at your boundaries as obstacles they need to overcome.

If you don’t firmly believe in your own boundaries, you can’t expect others to give them the respect that they deserve. Instead, they’ll find ways around it and any effort you made in putting that barrier up will be for nothing.

When it comes to boundaries, people are often surprised at first simply because they don’t expect you to set them. If you encounter someone who really demands that you apologize for having simple things in life like boundaries, chances are that it’s in your best interest to cut off that person as soon as you can.

Get Support in Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

 

Private Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching for Less – Small Group Coaching

Private Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching for Less – Small Group Coaching

Are you looking for personal support for your narcissistic abuse recovery, but you aren’t willing or able to pay for private coaching? Or maybe you want some support in addition to traditional therapy or private coaching you’re already doing? Listen, I get it. Narcissistic abuse recovery is not even remotely easy, and it’s more difficult when you don’t have the right kind of support.

Check out our small group coaching program for narcissistic abuse recovery.

We have plenty of free resources for survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com, and if you’re willing to do it, you can work through this process on your own for free when you use the resources here on the site along with the videos at QueenBeeing.TV as well as our free online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups.

But sometimes, you want personal support and you have specific questions you really need to be answered. And that’s why we created a new, lower-cost way to get the support you need with our small group coaching program for survivors of narcissistic abuse.

Is Small Group Coaching Right for Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery?

It’s important that you get involved in the type of recovery program that is right for you. So, let me ask you:

  • Do you feel like you’ve lost yourself after a toxic relationship?
  • Has someone in your life made you feel worthless like you don’t matter or like you’re not even a real person?
  • Are you struggling to let go of a toxic person so you can move forward in your life?
  • Are you ready to stop accepting crumbs and start taking what you deserve?
  • Are you looking for private support from a small group of people who get where you’ve been?
  • Would you like to keep your costs low and still heal quickly through a personal program?
  • Are you ready to truly begin an inner transformation and evolution that will allow you to become the powerful person you’re meant to be?

If you said yes to any of these questions, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our group coaching program, facilitated by narcissistic abuse recovery expert, certified life coach, and trauma coach, Lise Colucci.

Who is Lise Colucci?

If you don’t know already know her from our SPANily support group, you can learn more about Lise, right here. But here’s what you really need to know: A trauma-informed fellow survivor of narcissistic abuse, Lise offers a powerful kind of support that only a fellow survivor can provide. She makes sure that this group focuses on helping survivors of narcissistic abuse and traumatic relationships take their healing and personal evolution to a whole new level. All stages of healing welcome! It’s never too soon to evolve.

How Small Group Coaching for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Works

This small, private group runs in four-week blocks, meeting once weekly for one hour on video chat. Also included are messenger chat with daily check-in from your coach, Lise, and access to resources and a printable online journal.

Principals of self-care will be taught and reinforced as you learn to make that a lifestyle while working with these deeper inner issues that may be keeping you stuck in patterns that limit your life. As this is a coaching opportunity, please note it is not therapy, but it certainly does make a nice addition to a therapy program you may already be using and it can be beneficial for you if you’re already doing one-on-one coaching as well. This group will help you find your path to your own journey into self with the support of a fellow survivor who is also a certified life coach and narcissistic abuse recovery expert.

What You Need to Know About Small Group Coaching for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Here’s what you can expect when you join our narcissistic abuse recovery small group coaching program.

  • One hour weekly video meetings
  • Email Lise for current times and session information at [email protected]
  • Cost: $60 (non-refundable at this reduced group rate) for the whole month.
  • This group is ongoing and can be joined at any time.
  • You can continue month-to-month if you choose (many people do), or you can opt-out at any time after the first month.
  • This includes an active group messenger chat for daily check-in if you need it as well as a printable journal and access to additional resources.

This program may not be for everyone, but it is definitely powerful and has helped so many of our fellow survivors to take their healing to the next level. Sign up right here, or click through to learn more about the program.

Testimonials for Small Group Coaching for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Here’s what people are saying about our small group coaching program:

“This coaching was life-changing for me. There is unparalleled support from the group and Lise makes you feel like you are the only one – it gave me the courage to act on the things I have learned in these groups. At the time I started attending I was struggling just to grey rock – now I am out with minimal contact and working on regaining my freedom.” ~M.

“Lise rocks! Truly worth the money. This is a bargain for how much it’s helped me.” ~J.

“I had the best experience with Lise and really enjoyed the part where we could communicate with the group even when not in session.” ~A.

So, what do you think? Sound like it’s for you? If so, sign up here. If not, no worries! Definitely check out all of the amazing free healing resources we have for you over at QueenBeeing.com and QueenBeeing.TV.

Feel free to also reach out to Lise directly with questions at [email protected] with questions or to be added to a group.

 

Overcoming Trauma Associated with Narcissistic Abuse

Overcoming Trauma Associated with Narcissistic Abuse

If you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship, you have likely experienced significant and ongoing trauma. And while it might feel like no one in your life gets what you’ve been through, you’re far from alone. In fact, according to the National Council For Behavioral Health, approximately 70% of Americans (over the age of 18) have experienced trauma in their lifetime. That is well over 200 million people – and that’s not even considering the fact that so many lives have been permanently altered thanks to the pandemic.

What is narcissistic abuse?

The term “narcissistic abuse” is thrown around a lot these days. While not all abuse technically involves narcissists,  a narcissist is involved more often than you might think. Malignant narcissists have a seriously impaired ability to experience emotional and compassionate empathy, and they are known to act from that perspective.

In layman’s terms, that means that, essentially, they don’t care how you or anyone else feels, and you can tell because of the way they treat the people around them.

Narcissistic abuse involves subtle manipulation, pervasive control tactics, gaslighting, and emotional and psychological abuse.  In most cases, narcissistic abusers might be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder – if they actually go to a psychologist for diagnosis, but this rarely happens.

Due to the nature of this personality disorder, most narcissists don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with them, and they are likely to look outward at other people if there are problems in their lives. They may be overtly narcissistic, or they may be more of a covert narcissist. In either case, anyone in a close relationship with one of these toxic people will be used as a form of narcissistic supply and not treated like an actual person. Sadly, even the most intelligent and educated people can be manipulated and abused by a narcissist.

What is a toxic relationship?

A toxic relationship is similar to a dysfunctional relationship, but it is in many ways far less repairable. While therapy and ongoing effort can repair many dysfunctional relationships, toxic relationships are physically and/or psychologically unsafe. They can even be life-threatening for one or both partners involved. A toxic relationship involves more negativity than positivity, and it doesn’t emotionally support one or both of the people involved. When narcissistic abuse is part of a toxic relationship, only the narcissist’s needs are addressed and the victim is actively manipulated and abused in order to facilitate this.

Toxic relationships will involve resentment, contempt, communication problems, and varying forms of physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. In the most extreme cases, you may need medical help and intense therapy to begin recovery. I always suggest seeing your doctor and getting checked out on a regular basis anyway, and I think it is an important first step in narcissistic abuse recovery. This way, you’ll know for sure what you’ve got to deal with, and you can get your doctor’s advice on taking the next steps in your personal journey toward recovery.

But in most cases, you can manage with some support and intentional healing. In nearly all cases, people who are victims of narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships will experience some level of ongoing trauma and will struggle with the after-effects long after the relationship ends. In any case, intentionally working toward narcissistic abuse recovery can make a significant difference in both the length of your recovery as well as the quality of your life during and afterward.

What is trauma? 

Trauma is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as: “The emotional response someone has to an extremely negative event.” The effects of trauma can vary from person to person. Some people may be minimally affected by trauma. Others may be debilitated by the effects. In narcissistic abuse, ongoing trauma related to gaslighting and other forms of manipulation and psychological abuse can lead to trauma bonding.

In addition to prolonged psychological abuse, physical violence, and other forms of abuse, trauma events include things like a car accident, a natural disaster such as a tornado or hurricane, the death of a loved one, serious illnesses, or divorce. In some cases, minor trauma can even occur as the result of seemingly positive changes, such as moving, getting married, or changing jobs.

Many narcissistic abuse survivors also experience trauma bonding with their abusers. This video offers some additional insight into trauma bonding and how it affects you during and after narcissistic abuse.

Emotional And Psychological Trauma as a Side-Effect of Narcissistic Abuse

What happens when you survive a traumatic event? 

During each trauma you experience in your toxic relationship, your body goes into defense mode, creating the stress response which results in a variety of symptoms, both physical and mental. You will experience your emotions more intensely and likely behave differently as a result of the trauma. The body’s stress response includes physical symptoms such as a spike in blood pressure, an increase in sweating and heart rate, as well as a loss of appetite.

How does your body respond to a traumatic event?

During episodes of narcissistic abuse, whether they’re psychological or physical, your body will have a stress response. This will affect your thoughts, your moods, and your emotions, but also your physical health.  Your body perceives what you’re dealing with as a physical threat, whether or not you’re in physical danger. This is why so many survivors find themselves living in fight or flight mode (or even experience an ongoing freeze response). The flight or fight response causes your body to produce chemicals that prepare your body for an emergency. As you might imagine, this can profoundly affect you.

The symptoms involved can lead to a variety of complications, including the following.

  • You get anxious.
  • You lose your appetite.
  • You suffer from other stomach and digestive issues.
  • You sweat more.
  • You breathe faster (respiratory rate increases).
  • Your heart beats faster.
  • Your blood pressure goes up to a dangerous level.

There has been some real hope found in Polyvagal Theory for healing the physical response to ongoing trauma.

How does your mind respond to the trauma associated with narcissistic abuse?

Following each traumatic event you go through during narcissistic abuse, you will deal with uncomfortable and potentially devastating emotional and psychological effects. For example, it might mean you deal with experience denial and/or shock. So many survivors of narcissistic abuse tell me that they do not even realize that they are being abused until they feel too stuck to leave – or until they are discarded and trying to figure out what happened.

In any case, you might find yourself living in the stress response for days or weeks before going through a series of emotions that could lead to healing. Note: while some level of relief may occur for those who are still dealing with narcissistic abuse, it is very difficult to fully heal unless you free yourself of the ongoing abuse. In most cases, that means you’ll need to go no contact with your abuser (or low contact, if you have children together).

When you stick around and continue to tolerate narcissistic abuse, you’re doing more than making your life harder. The ongoing abuse makes it nearly impossible to heal, and this can result in a serious impact on your overall health and wellbeing.

Symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma include the following. 

  • You’ll feel shocked (at least initially) by the abuse.
  • You’ll deny that it’s even happening, or you’ll doubt that it did.
  • You’ll find yourself feeling foggy and sometimes confused, and you won’t be able to concentrate.
  • You’ll be irritable and you might feel angry a lot.
  • You will deal with mood swings that might feel out of control.
  • You’ll be anxious and you might feel scared or on edge all the time.
  • You’ll often feel guilty, and you’ll blame yourself for everything that goes wrong (in your relationship and otherwise).
  • You’ll suffer from shame, whether it’s related to the fact that you’re tolerating abuse, or it’s related to the self-image the abuser has created for you.
  • You’ll self-isolate and withdraw from your friends and extended family, and this will leave you feeling more alone than ever.
  • You’ll find yourself feeling hopeless and you’ll always have an underlying sense of sadness.
  • Eventually, you’ll go numb, and you’ll feel like you’re not even living, but just “getting through the days.”
  • You might find yourself just sort of “existing,” and you might neglect your own physical needs, your responsibilities, and even, at least on some levels, your kids or other people you care for.

These responses are the result of evolution – your body has evolved to respond this way to effectively cope with an emergency, whether it’s to stand and fight or to run away as fast as humanly possible. Unfortunately, our bodies and brains weren’t designed to deal with ongoing narcissistic abuse, so these issues can become debilitating for victims.

What are the long-term effects of ongoing trauma related to narcissistic abuse? 

PTSD & C-PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder often diagnosed in soldiers, as well as in survivors of abuse, in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Post-traumatic stress disorder can leave people feeling anxious long after they experience trauma, whether it results in a physical injury or not. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of anything to do with the trauma, panic attacks, poor concentration, sleep issues, depression, anger, and substance abuse.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a serious mental health condition affecting a large percentage of victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse. This disorder can take years to treat and many professionals aren’t familiar with its symptoms or misdiagnose it. They may even victim-blame if they aren’t familiar with the subtle tricks of a narcissist. Unfortunately, it can be a lifelong condition, but it can be managed with mindfulness and behavior modification, among other therapies and modalities.

Depression

Depression is a very common issue for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse, manifesting in a persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities – both daily “chores” or responsibilities as well as things you normally really enjoy doing. Depression significantly affects your daily life in ways that not everyone understands – and it can also affect your physical health in a number of ways. When we’re talking about depression, we don’t mean those moments where you occasionally feel sad or a little down – we’re talking about a lasting experience of intense negative emotions such as hopelessness, anxiety, helplessness, and negativity.

Not only can these issues affect your health as noted, but both the physical and mental effects of trauma may lead you to practice bad habits that negatively contribute to an overall lack of wellbeing.

How do you recover from trauma related to narcissistic abuse? 

If you’re ready to start healing from the abuse you’ve experienced, you’ve come to the right place. Now that you’ve recognized that you’ve dealt with narcissistic abuse, you’re ready to start learning how to deal with and heal from the ongoing trauma you experienced during your toxic relationship.

Start With Self Care

Self care is always important, and when you’re trying to heal from significant trauma, it is even more important than ever. Especially during the first days and weeks of recovery, you might find yourself neglecting your self-care. You might also beat yourself up too much, and this is the time when self-compassion must be a big part of your plan. So be kind to yourself – you’ve had enough abuse from the narcissist. Don’t continue it on their behalf.

Instead, be gentle with yourself and take the extra time you need to get a healthy diet, hydrate, rest, and nourish your soul and emotions. Journal, exercise, or do any favorite activity that makes you feel good. All of these things can help you restore your sense of well-being and wholeness in the moment and will help your overall state of mind anytime.

Discover the Right Resources for Your Recovery

Start by finding out what kinds of narcissistic abuse recovery resources are available to you, and which ones will best fit your personal needs and your budget. Understanding your needs and which of the available options is best for you going to be a critical step in moving past emotional or psychological trauma you’ve death with through narcissistic abuse. Talk to family, friends, or trusted people in your life who may understand what you’ve experienced, or reach out to a narcissistic abuse recovery support group.

If you need to report an event to a professional or law enforcement. do so. The same if you may need to see a doctor. Do your best to make informed choices here and do what is best for you and your health and wellbeing.

Understand the Effects of Narcissistic Abuse-Related Trauma

Knowledge is power when it comes to narcissistic abuse recovery. Not only will understanding what happens mentally and physically during and after the abuse give you insight into your experiences, but it can also help you learn how to help yourself heal.

Plus, if you’re anything like me, looking at the situation from the perspective of a “scientist,” as in logically and not emotionally, can help you find the catalyst you need to get out of a toxic relationship and to heal your whole life on a more profound scale. This is especially helpful for diverting your most extreme emotions if you can logically understand that what you have experienced isn’t your fault – and then to go deeper and look at how your own psychology as well as the narcissist’s psychology almost doomed you to end up in a toxic relationship in the first place.

With this kind of self-awareness, you can intentionally redesign yourself. And while you definitely cannot become the same person you once were after you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, you can absolutely become a better, more enlightened, and intentionally-created version. I like to think this is the one silver lining to narcissistic abuse recovery. Clearly, we’d all rather avoid having the narcissistic abuse experience in our lives – but since it is so soul-crushing and psychologically damaging that it breaks us down to the point that we feel like a shell of a person, we have to rebuild ourselves anyway.

You can look at this as a horrible injustice, and you’d be right. But the hidden bit of light here is that you can literally rebuild yourself to become the person you really, truly want to be – the person maybe you should have been all along. And this leads me to my next point.

Overcoming the Effects of Narcissistic Abuse-Related Trauma

Depending on what level of trauma you experienced during narcissistic abuse, the process for dealing with it varies. In cases of shorter relationships and those that aren’t as significant (such as a co-worker of a few months, versus a 20-year marriage, for example), you might feel better with time. But most of us will need to go through a whole process that will involve an extended period of self-reflection, research, learning, coping, grieving, and ultimately, and personal evolution.

After you’ve worked through the painful parts of the narcissistic abuse recovery process, the silver lining is fully in place, and you’re ready to begin discovering who you are, what you want, and what your life will look like from here on out.  (THIS is the good part!)

It’s around this time that you’ll begin to feel a sort of shift in your narcissistic abuse recovery, where things will start to become clearer than ever. It’s as though you’re nearing the end of a lifelong existential crisis – and you can really begin to feel yourself evolving into a whole new level of consciousness – and that can be a beautiful thing.

Get Help With Healing From Narcissistic Abuse Related Trauma

Overcoming emotional and physical trauma associated with narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships can be a long, difficult process. It takes digging deep and doing the work each day to move past the all-encompassing and life-altering level of trauma brought on by the ongoing abuse.

Please remember that you’re are worth it and that you deserve to be happy and healthy. And, whether we like it or not, when we’ve experienced narcissistic abuse and the trauma related to it, our health, happiness, and wellbeing literally depend on doing this work. Take the time to heal, empower yourself, and move forward from psychological and emotional trauma.

Remember that in every stage of trauma recovery, getting support is going to be critical. Whatever path you choose, the level to which you share your experiences with people in your life is a personal decision. Don’t keep things to yourself, but understand who is going to be a “safe” person with whom you can safely discuss the abuse and trauma you’ve experienced.

Remember that not everyone has experienced what you have, so they may not fully understand the depth of it. Trying to explain the psychological abuse narcissists inflict on you can feel impossible when you’re talking to someone who just doesn’t “get it,” if you understand what I mean.

You might even want to hire a narcissistic abuse recovery coach to help you work through your recovery –  or even just to have someone who will understand and help you process what you’ve been through.

Resources for Healing After Trauma Caused By Narcissistic Abuse

Professional Help for Managing Trauma and Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

If you are experiencing symptoms that are affecting your day-to-day life, it is important to get professional if needed. There is no shame in working with experts to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Consider talking to experts if you experience the following symptoms.

  • Ongoing distress, anxiety, sadness, etc for multiple weeks.
  • Feeling like you’re stuck or you have an inability to function in your life.
  • Feeling hopeless all the time.
  • Your work or school is affected.
  • Your daily life and activities have been affected.
  • You are using drugs or alcohol to cope.

It never hurts to start by contacting your family doctor or mental health professionals. Also, consider talking to a clergy member about a referral if you go to church. They may know a professional in your community that you can work with. You can also check out the narcissistic abuse recovery support resources here.

Self-Assessments for Managing Trauma and Narcissistic Abuse Recovery 

More Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

  • Best Books on Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
  • Comprehensive Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Glossary: This is a comprehensive guide to words and phrases (related to narcissism, NPD and related conditions, narcissistic abuse, and narcissistic abuse recovery) that are commonly used in articles, videos, and narcissistic abuse recovery support groups. Defined here as specifically how they relate to narcissism, narcissistic abuse, and narcissistic abuse recovery, these terms have been developed by psychologists, coaches, therapists, and survivors of narcissistic abuse who need a way to understand and overcome the abuse.
  • FAQ Help: Whenever you need help with something related to this site or you want to know how to find something, join a group or otherwise deal with an issue you’re having, visit our new FAQ Help page.
  • Self-Care for Survivors: This is a page that covers everything you need to know about self-care, from how to build your own self-care kit to how to sign up for self-care support, and more.
  • New Resources Page: This is a one-stop overview of narcissism, NPD, and narcissistic abuse recovery, offering a long list of resources that will be helpful for you.
  • Stalking Resources Center: If your narcissist is a stalker, the information and resources on this page will help you get and stay safe.
  • Visit Our Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Resources Page

*Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only.  It’s very important to always check with your doctor before taking any action that could affect your physical or mental health.  

 

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Guided Meditation for Self-Acceptance and Self-Love

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Guided Meditation for Self-Acceptance and Self-Love

If you’re like most survivors of narcissistic abuse, you might still be struggling to feel good about yourself. You might also not be very self-accepting, and most of us don’t end up actually feeling like we have any self-love to speak of – not to mention self-confidence. For that reason, I wrote this self-acceptance and self-love inducing guided meditation for you.

I worked with a professional voice artist to create a simple, relaxing, and motivational meditation for self-acceptance that leads to unconditional self-love. You can listen in the morning to get you going or play it while you go to sleep at night. I suggest you use it for at least 30 days for maximum effect.

If you like the idea of healing while you sleep, you might also want to add in my four-hour guided sleep meditation for narcissistic abuse recovery and healing, right here. 

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Meditation for Self-Acceptance That Leads to Unconditional Self-Love

See guided meditation on YouTube

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Affirmations for Self-Acceptance that Leads to Self-Love

I accept myself as I am.

I deserve to be loved and I am worth loving.

I have many positive qualities and traits.

I am not perfect, but I accept myself as I am.

Everyone has positive and negative characteristics.

I am comfortable with who I am.

I am becoming more accepting of myself as I age and mature.

I have learned a lot about myself over the years.

I accept the good and the not-so-good easily and comfortably.

I know that perfection is unattainable, and I am okay with being imperfect.

Life can be challenging and dynamic.

As I strive to strengthen my skills and abilities, I do the best I can with what I have.

My imperfections make me unique and interesting.

I embrace my imperfections and invite the world to experience them.

I accept myself without condition.

I avoid trying to live up to the narcissist’s image of the ideal person.

I can be a perfect me, as myself in any given moment, and that is enough. To try to do anything else is an exercise in futility.

I am honest with myself regarding my personality, physical characteristics, and view of the world.

A high level of self-acceptance allows me to experience the joy of life.

Life can only be fully experienced from a perspective of self-acceptance.

Today, I accept myself, just as I am.

I am also willing to accept others as they are.

I am practicing acceptance on every level.

Self-acceptance is a key part of enjoying life.

I love and respect myself without condition.

Despite what I may have believed before, I now know that the love I have for myself is the most important love of all.

When I love myself, I am better able to love and care for others.

I am better to myself and the world when I am able to love myself.

I have great respect for myself and my many accomplishments, even the small ones.

Self-respect is a big part of finding my own happiness and fulfillment on my own.

I don’t need anyone else to be happy.

I treat myself with the respect I deserve.

I am worthy of self-respect and enjoy feeling good about myself.

I am learning to maintain high standards for my behavior and face the world in a way that allows me to sleep peacefully at night.

My good friends and those I consider my family are proud to be part of my life.

It is easy for me to show them love and respect because I maintain these qualities for myself as well.

I attract more healthy, like-minded people into my life.

Self-love and self-respect make it possible to have authentic relationships with others.

By accepting and loving myself, I am able to give the same gift to others.

Much of my self-respect comes from the willingness to accept responsibility for my own life.

The respect I feel for myself springs from this place.

I am able to avoid worrying about the negative opinions of others because I am in control of my life and emotions.

Today, I appreciate my unique qualities. I remind myself how wonderful I am and that I deserve love and respect from the world, but most of all from myself.

Every day, my self-esteem is growing by leaps and bounds.

I am learning to be independent and I know that I am enough, just as I am, in any given moment.

I am fortunate to be overflowing with self-esteem.

My self-esteem is limitless. It continues to grow and blossom.

As my self-esteem increases, I feel more powerful and peaceful.

As I grow in my healing, I realize that having a high level of self-esteem makes my life simple and light.

Knowing that I can handle any challenge that comes my way frees me from worry and concern.

I avoid making mountains out of molehills.

Temporary setbacks are barely noticeable.

I focus on what I can control, what I can affect, and I don’t worry about things that are beyond my control.

My capabilities are tremendous.

I can feel myself growing stronger each day in my mind, body, soul, and abilities.

As I heal, I feel myself growing on a spiritual level. I am getting closer and closer to being my true self.

I love myself just as I am.

I know with certainty that I am lovable and capable.

I know without a doubt that I deserve good things, and I take inspired action as needed to manifest my best and highest self.

I am comfortable revealing myself to the world.

I am free from worrying about the approval or rejection of others.

I am totally at peace with who I am, and I do not make apologies for it.

My certainty in my abilities is rock-solid.

Even in the face of adversity, I am confident in my ability to be successful.

I know that I will make it.

I know I can do what I want as long as I am willing to put in the effort.

My happiness and success are certain as long as I persist in moving toward my goal.

I already have everything I need to win.

My self-esteem serves me well.

My professional and personal life are positively influenced by my self-esteem.

I am strong, confident and full of love and light.

Today, I enjoy many benefits of strong self-esteem as my self-esteem increases.

Each day I grow more capable and confident. Life becomes easier. The world is my oyster.

Next: Try this guided, four-hour sleep healing meditation.

How Do Narcissists Exploit Your Need For Connection?

How Do Narcissists Exploit Your Need For Connection?


(Prefer to watch/listen? See video on YouTube) Narcissists have this way of exploiting your need for connection. It’s part of how they get you stuck in toxic relationships and feeling like you can’t leave, even if money or family isn’t an issue.

See, as humans, we are wired to connect with other humans. In fact, according to scientist Matthew Lieberman, author of the 2013 book Social, it is as necessary for us as food and water. He notes that social pain (as in being snubbed or having someone say hurtful things to you in a social setting) is as real to us as physical pain.

Lieberman points out that phrases such as “that breaks my heart” and “that hurts my feelings” are cultural evidence of the fact that emotional pain is so significant. And he says that while we might not like it, our wellbeing as humans is literally directly affected in profound ways by our connections to other people. He says social pain IS real pain – so not connecting can be as detrimental to our physical and mental health as not eating healthy food.

And this is confirmed by the Canadian Mental Health Association, which notes in a 2019 report that connecting with other people is far more important than we might think. In fact, we are told that “social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems.”

So literally, by not connecting with other people, we put our health at risk. In other words, the evidence shows that we NEED to connect with people in order to be relatively healthy. But when you’re dealing with a narcissist in a toxic relationship, you might often find yourself isolated and feeling very alone.

Worse, narcissists seem to instinctively exploit our basic human need for connection and use it against us to control and manipulate us. How? Well, let’s talk about it.

Narcissistic Abuse Affects Every Aspect of Your Life

Say the narcissist in your life is a partner or former partner. Do you remember the time when you were with that person and you thought that they were your soulmate? You could not believe that everything you loved, they loved, and everything you didn’t like, they didn’t either. And then they would be so sweet and charming until their narcissistic side came out. They were at first like a dream come true to you and became your worst nightmare.

But what you didn’t know then is that the narcissist had their own underlying psychological issues, likely starting in early childhood. It has a whole lot to do with their mothers (I know if it’s not one thing, it’s your mother) and their attachment styles. See more on narcissist and codependent attachment styles here.

While the narcissist cannot truly feel compassionate and emotional empathy, they certainly watch and learn what you like and how you want and need a connection. Therefore, the only type of empathy that the narcissist expresses is cognitive, superficial, and agenda-driven empathy. They simply just know that you have a need for connection. And they will do anything they can to exploit it.

But why would they do that? Let’s discuss it.

How Narcissists Exploit Your Need for Connection

How would it benefit a narcissist to exploit your need for connection? Two words: narcissistic supply – they need it. And they will whatever they need to get it – including pretending to care about you and expressing false empathy. Here are five different ways narcissists will exploit your need for connection.

1. Narcissists Idealize You

Most of us who end up in long-term relationships with narcissists have experienced at least some form of trauma in childhood. Often, our childhood experiences led us to become people-pleasers or codependents.

In so many cases, we also don’t truly see our value and we have rarely experienced unconditional love. We don’t know how it feels to have someone who is really “on our side” and we’ve rarely been given the opportunity to be the center of anyone’s attention. If we have, it has often been short-lived and spotty at best.

But when you first meet a narcissist, and they see you as a good source of supply, everything changes. The allure of love bombing and idealization – it’s powerful! Because for those of us who have had difficult upbringings, or who didn’t feel loved and seen by others, the kind of validation and perceived love that we get in the beginning of a toxic relationship is literally like a drug! It FEELS incredible and brings out all kinds of feel-good neurotransmitters in us. And since narcissists are so intense, we think we’ve practically won the lottery of soulmates.

We feel like we are walking on air! Not only will some narcissists go to extremes with wooing you, but during that idealization phase, they can literally make you feel you are the most important thing in the world. And when you’ve spent most of your life feeling like you aren’t important or like no one really “sees” you? Yeah. You’re going to fall in love, and fast. And how can you possibly run away from that since this is all a wonderful dream? This is how they trap you and you cannot help but fall for it because you are simply being treated like royalty. But all that is before the other shoe drops, which brings me to my next point.

2. Then They Devalue You

Once the narcissist has you in their trap, they will then show their true colors. They know you value your side of the relationship and while they’re intent on keeping you as a source of narcissistic supply, this is around the time that they notice that you have flaws – you know, that you’re human.

See, during the love-bombing and idealization phase, the narcissist is enamored with you – they can only see what is good about you. And since they lack object constancy, the moment they decide you are in fact human and they begin to mentally tally your flaws, the person you met initially seems to disappear. They start to criticize you, think less of you, and tell you all about it, one way or another.

You’ll start to be confused. You’ll try to figure out what you’re doing wrong, and you’ll do things to try to change yourself to be better for them. You’ll think it’s all your fault and that is partially because this is exactly what the narcissist wants you to think.

Plus, you’ll find that even when you do “fix” something the narcissist complains about, they’ll find something else that’s wrong. You cannot win. So, as you might imagine, this is when they begin to instill fear into you, make you insecure, and this is where the heavy-hitting manipulation tactics like gaslighting come into play.

All of this ends up confusing you to the point that you literally don’t even know which way is up sometimes. You feel like you aren’t capable of making your own choices and you start to lean on the narcissist more and more for affirmation of any decision you have to make. So, as you might imagine, you become increasingly dependent on the narcissist, despite the fact that they become increasingly cruel and negligent of you and the relationship you’re in.

They will play with your thoughts and feelings but will keep you afraid to do anything against their wishes because they also know at this point that you would never leave them because you just simply need a connection. You are dependant on them and they will abuse that and will abuse you.  That means you at some point will fight back and this also provides them with the supply they need because even negative attention is still attention.

3. They Will Discard You If They Find New Supply

Even in a long-term relationship, narcissists always seem to be on the lookout for new supply. And while not all narcissists cheat, many or most do. And sadly, regardless of the level of commitment they’ve promised you and to which they’ve caused you to be obligated, the narcissist can easily disappear if they find a new source of narcissistic supply.

This is true even if they are still in a relationship with you. At this point, they might have even been cheating on you to find the new source. Because they can’t jump from one branch of a tree before they’ve got a good handle on the next – or, to put it more directly, they can’t ever be alone. So in most cases, they’ll hold on to you while they’re looking for their next victim.

And, of course, before they discard you, they will appear to act indifferent to you which will make you even more anxious. And this is another way the narcissist exploits your human need for connection.

See, because they know you fear that they will leave you – and they often do – they will manipulate you by giving intermittent reinforcement during this time. This is where they give you tiny glimpses of kindness, of love, and of that person you originally signed up to be with. You know – little “crumbs of affection,” just enough to keep you hooked and intermittently sprinkled between bouts of gaslighting and other forms of emotional and psychological abuse.

Often, this will lead to the narcissist ghosting you without warning – which will leave you confused, and if you are already dependent on them as it is, it will leave you frazzled, to put it mildly. A lot of times, what they want is for you to chase after them and to beg them to come back. And if you don’t, just wait – many, if not most, narcissists will come back around looking for more supply from you. We call that the hoover maneuver – and it means exactly what it sounds like. Just  like a vacuum cleaner, the narcissist will try to “suck you back in.” You might even fall for it, thanks to that need for connection.

How to Deal When a Narcissist Has Exploited Your Need for Connection

With all of that being said, the best thing you can do for yourself if this happens is to never go back to a narcissist that discards you. If you are able to, go no contact. So so block them from your phone and platforms if they haven’t done that already to you. If you can’t go no contact because you have kids with this person, you can always go low-contact, meaning you can just only communicate with them about the business of raising the kids and never about emotional stuff.

In any case, whatever you do, do your best to avoid accepting them back in your life or inner circle if they do attempt to hoover you. Remember that, ultimately, they are just exploiting your need for connection in order to feed their own need for narcissistic supply.

Question of the Day: Has a narcissist ever exploited your need for connection? If so, how did that play out and how did you deal with it? Share your thoughts, share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it.

 

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